Sustainability

threepillars_architecturalsimpleSustainability is the ability to continue a defined behaviour indefinitely.  Whereas environmental sustainability is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

Traceability is the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification.  Therefore, traceability from seed to shop.  Is the ability to track and verify the history of the item.

I have come across two companies that are committed to sustainable practices through innovation:

G-Star Raw Jeans: Pharrell is collaborating with G-Star Raw to curate a line of denim made from recycled plastic salvaged from the ocean. The plastic bits are woven into a hybrid cotton-plastic material called Bionic Yarn. From that, they create some pretty cool jeans for both ladies and gents.

TITANIA INGLIS: Every garment is sewn in a small factory in New York from sustainably sourced fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, French vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from New York’s garment industry. Inglis’ innovative designs mean that many garments can be worn a multitude of ways, reducing the consumer’s need to purchase more (and therefore reducing production).

G-Star Raw have moved towards minimising the environmental impact of their products by looking for materials that contribute to a more sustainable future.  They aim to gradually increase the use of sustainable materials into their collection.   Since sustainable materials often require more complex production processes and longer manufacturing times.  Because it concerns innovative materials that are less widely available than conventional ones.   G-Star Raw have stated that fitting sustainable textiles into their supply chain will be a challenge which will require close cooperation with their suppliers.

TITANIA INGLIS’ designs are of minimal environmental impact.  Each garment is sewn in a small, family-owned factory in New York from low-impact fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, Italian vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from the local garment industry.  TITANIA INGLIS states that their new styles are wear-tested and of sturdy construction, ensuring that their products will be wardrobe staples for years to come.

Comparing the two companies G-Star Raw line is aiming to reduce and remove waste pollution of plastic bottles from the ocean.  Combining them with another material to produce an friendly bio-product.  Whereas, TITANIA INGLIS uses low-impact fabrics.

Sustainable alternatives

In recent years, some manufacturers have begun to produce ecologically-optimised regenerated fibres in more sustainable ways. They rely exclusively on raw materials from certified sustainable forestry. Marketed varieties include Monocel, lyocell (known under the brand name Tencel), Modal Edelweiss, Cupro, acetate and triacetate. According to Lenzing, the private-sector company that is the world leader in industrially produced cellulose fibres, the fibre yields per hectare of forests are up to four times higher than those of cotton, measured by kilogrammes per year. Furthermore, trees can be cultivated without artificial irrigation and pesticides.

An innovative alternative fibre called “SeaCell” is made from algae. The manufacturing process is the same as for lyocell. SeaCell starts out as brown algae that are harvested from the fjords of Iceland. The algae are dried and crushed into a powder, which is combined with the base fibre lyocell for spinning. The makers of SeaCell claim that it has health benefits since fibres are protected from environmental toxins due to  high concentrations of minerals, trace elements and antioxidants.

The clothing industry has a lot of hope riding on improved regenerated fibres. Thanks to their wear­ability, these fibres are also becoming increasingly popular with consumers.

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(Futurelearn has a fantastic online/free course all about Sustainable Fashion)

After researching sustainability in textiles, I have found several YouTube videos of how I would be able to incorporate sustainability into a textile classroom.  This would be achieved through the use of scrap/off-cut fabrics and waste thread by turning them into a new product.

Case study analysis with comprehension questions

Issues in Globalisation: Environmental Impacts & Sustainability

This case study deals with environmental impacts of the textile industry.  The aim of this unit is to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of issues in globalisation and their environmental impacts and sustainability within Textiles Technology

Clothing manufacture in Bangladesh, currently the third largest global supplier of clothing.  It shows how globalisation has led to increasing manufacturing in Bangladesh, and the pollution caused.  Factory processes are shown in Bangladesh, and environmental impacts assessed, both in terms of ecosystems and especially in terms of water quality for people living near the factories.  There have been reforms to enforce pollution control in Bangladesh but many factory owners fear that the costs of pollution control will lead to increased costs.  They fear that overseas buyers will move elsewhere to countries which can produce clothing more cheaply by avoiding pollution controls.

Q1. What kinds of work are there in Bangladesh?

e.g. What is Bangladesh’s economy based on?  What are the most common types of jobs done by people who live and work there?  Is the economy changing?  Is it industrialising? What are working conditions like for people at work?  Who are the biggest employers in Bangladesh?

Guidance

  • Type ‘Bangladesh economy’ into Google; also Wikipedia (key in ‘Bangladesh’ into Google)
  • For a Bangladeshi view of the country try the ‘The Bangladesh Today’ newspaper – thebangladeshtoday.com
  • For job adverts, key ‘Bangladesh jobs’ into Google

Q2. What environmental problems does Bangladesh face?

e.g. which natural hazards that affect Bangladesh?  When do they occur most and why?  How do these affect the country?

Guidance

  • You will need to do a general search using Google on phrases such as ‘flooding in Bangladesh’.
  • YouTube is excellent for hazards in Bangladesh.  Type ‘Bangladesh floods’ or ‘Bangladesh hazards’ into YouTube’s search facility.  You may get some results!

Q3. How do floods affect Bangladesh? Which parts are most affected?

e.g. When do floods affect Bangladesh?  What times of year of flooding a problem?  Which parts of Bangladesh are most affected?  Which years have been most affected by flooding?

Guidance

  • Type ‘flooding in Bangladesh’ into Google, and find examples of recent floods, especially the flood in 1998.  Find out what happened.
  • What are the causes of floods in Bangladesh?  Key ‘flooding in Bangladesh’ and ‘Bangladesh monsoon’ into Google.

Q.4 What future threats does Bangladesh face?

e.g. how will the country change in future?  What threats does it face?  Are there any environmental threats that it faces e.g. from climate change?

Guidance

  • Type ‘environmental threats to Bangladesh’ into Google, also ‘climate change Bangladesh’.
  • For a Bangladeshi view of the country try the ‘The Bangladesh Today’ newspaper – thebangladeshtoday.com
Adapted from http://www.abc.net.au/tveducation/pdf/Issues%20in%20Globalisation%20TM.pdf [Access on 11 October 2016]